Wednesday, 20 August 2014

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Different Types of Web Offset Printing Machines

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The printing industry makes use of various printing techniques depending upon the application. One of the most commonly used printing technologies is that of offset printing. This technique comprises a two step process- first; the inked image is transferred, or offset, from a plate to a rubber blanket. Thereafter, this image is transferred onto the printing surface. Offset printing makes an effective use of the lithographic process, which is based on the repulsion of water and oil. A flat image carrier is used as the printing surface, on which the desired image is printed by employing ink from ink rollers. On the other hand, the rest of the area, which is supposed to be kept neat and smudge-free, attracts a film of water, thus affording protection from the ink. Offset printing machines come in various types owing to the wide number of uses they have. Here’s a look at the different types of offset printing machines:

1. Web Offset Printing Machines

Web offset printing machines are probably the most widely used kind. This is because they are particularly suited to print high-quality material in bulk quantities. The image transfer process here flows from a computer, to plates, to a rubber blanket, to the printing surface. It involves feeding a large ream of paper, generally several meters long, in many parts through the machinery. The idea is to have an uninterrupted printing run; which is why the paper has to be in such large batches at a time.
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Web offset printing machines are used for most of the printed material we find in the household: newspapers, books, magazines, stationery, brochures, calendars and so on. This machinery provides significant economies of scale, whilst being low-maintenance, fast and impeccable in quality results. The final images are found to be consistently sharp and clean. Since the printing plates are built to endure continuous running, the machines are high on sturdiness and durability. What is also rather helpful to the machine operators of modern models is that there is a provision for fine-tuning the end result through the use of electronic screw keys to adjust the amount of ink on the fountain roller. This enables them to achieve just the right color density. Newspaper printing machines these days also routinely have provisions for modular printing units so as to match exact specifications for required number of pages, color and edition volume.

2. Sheet-Fed Offset Machines

Sheet offset machines are used far less frequently than webs offset printing machines. Although the fundamental lithographic process is common between the two, the actual printing is carried out in a different manner. Here, pre-cut pages are fed through the press in contrast to the reams employed by web offset machines. Naturally, this means that the printed quantities cannot be in such large numbers as in web offset machines and the costs incurred are much higher. But these machines do offer one significant advantage: they can be used to print images on plastic, metal, cardstock and other materials besides paper. They are also considered to be easier to operate, and need even lower maintenance than web offset printing machines.

3. Quick Set Offset

Quick set offset machines are rather aptly named: they are so designed that the ink used for printing is quick to set and dry. Such machines are great for saving the quantity of ink used. They are used specifically for the printing of specialized high-quality image. These could include instruction books, trademarks, and vivid imagery in some periodicals. Like sheet-fed offset machines, they are not meant for high-volume production.
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1 comment:

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